Takamine GD93CE Acoustic-Electric
Taylor 114ce Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Ibanez AEG10II Acoustic-Electric Guitar
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One big factor in how comfortable an acoustic guitar is to play is how thin the neck is. I’m not referring to the distance from the back of the neck to the top of the fretboard. I’m talking about how wide the neck is. The thinner the neck, the easier the guitar is to play (especially if you have smaller hands or just less want something that is super easy to fret)
Neck Thin-ness is typically specified by using the width of the neck at the nut. Among the bajillion acoustic guitar models out there, you may see nut widths range from 41mm (1.61”) all the way up to 47mm (1.85”).
If thin necks on a guitar are your thing, then it may be hard to figure out what model may be the best for your tastes. Have no fear – I’ve taken a look at what are (in my opinion, anyways) 8 of the best thin neck acoustic guitars on the market.
A splendid time is guaranteed for all. Let’s dig in, shall we?
The 8 Best Thin Neck Acoustic Guitars:
Takamine GD93CE Acoustic-Electric Guitar
The GD93CE by Takamine is a prime example of how a mid-level acoustic guitar can compete with many of the higher end models on the market.
The cutaway dreadnought shape is traditional, and it features a solid spruce top along with layered walnut for the back and sides. And speaking about the back…well, people just don’t usually pay that much attention to it. But here you should – you’ll find a walnut insert in the middle that is simply visually striking.
The 1-11/16” wide neck (nut width) is constructed from mahogany, and is has a bound fingerboard with a 12” radius to maximize playability and comfort.
Playability is obviously important, but another winning aspect of the GD93CE is the Takamine TK-40D preamp system. Along with a chromatic tuner, a 3 band EQ section, and gain (volume) controls, it also has a mid contour switch, a notch filter, and a complete EQ section bypass switch to make it one of the most flexible acoustic guitars I’ve come across.
The GD93CE may cost a little more than some of the other models on my list, but I can’t argue that it isn’t worth every penny.
Taylor 114e Acoustic-Electric Guitar
One of the best acoustic guitars with a slim neck is the Taylor 114ce. It’s a great option for those looking for traditional Taylor tone and quality without the overly hefty price tag.
The body on the 114ce features a solid Sitka spruce top along with using walnut for the back and sides. The ‘c’ in the name refers to the Venetian cutaway design, which lets you have access to the upper frets.
Let’s get real for a minute – most likely you aren’t gonna be cranking out monster solos on a guitar like this, so it may be of little functional value. You can’t deny that it looks pretty cool, though!
Hard rock maple is used for the neck, and it also has a true ebony fretboard to help enhance the tone even further. With a nut width of only 1-11/16”, the neck doesn’t feel ‘blocky’ and helps to make the 114ce very comfortable to play.
Electronics on the 114ce are top notch as well. Here you’ll find Taylor’s ES-2 system, which puts a new twist on the traditional undersaddle piezo setup found on most acoustic electric guitar models. It places the piezo elements behind the bridge instead, allowing better transfer of the instrument’s natural vibration pattern.
All in all, the 114ce is an awesome thin neck acoustic guitar regardless of your playing skill level.
Ibanez AEG10II Acoustic-Electric
The Ibanez AEG10II is an entry level acoustic guitar that meets all of the specs for what a good beginner acoustic guitar should offer. It’s also slightly friendlier for guitar players with small hands with a slightly shorter neck.
On the body you’ll find a spruce top with sapele for the back and sides. A cutaway not only adds some visual snappiness, but it also lets you get up to those higher frets during those times where you want to let your inner ‘unplugged guitar hero’ out of the box.
You have your choice of three finish options (browned burst, high gloss black, and transparent blue) that will let you be as subdued or as flashy as you may want to get.
The thin neck (nut width = 1-11/16”) coupled with the overall Ibanez neck profile (constructed from nyatoh, by the way) makes for an acoustic guitar that has great playability, especially at this price point.
Topping things off is the Fishman Sonicore preamp system. It features a 3 band EQ along with a chromatic tuner and a phase control as well.
Taking it all in, the Ibanez AEG10II is a great looking guitar with all of the features a beginner – or even a more advanced player – would need to have.
Big Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar
It may be small, but that doesn’t mean that Taylor’s Big Baby Taylor (BBT) isn’t big in the feature department. It’s a great guitar for small hands, young beginners or pros that are looking for an acoustic guitar that’s compact for traveling.
You’ll see many of the same features on the BBT that you would on many other Taylor models. Solid Sitka spruce is used for the top along with layered walnut for the back and sides. The back is even slightly arched to help add strength. The overall body shape is a dreadnought, but it is slightly smaller.
The neck is constructed from hard rock maple, and it’s topped with an ebony fretboard that is home to 20 frets.
It has a thin neck, measuring 1-11/16” at the nut. That’s on the lower end of the scale, and many players prefer a thinner profile.
I should point out that the BBT is not a ‘short scale’ guitar, as it has a 25-½” scale length that is typically considered standard. That means that the frets aren’t closer together like they would be on a short scale.
Overall the BBT is a great choice for a smaller guitar, but personally I would prefer that it had some sort of pickup. Other than using a mic there is no way to amplify it in a live or in the studio.
Ovation Celebrity Elite Plus
Ovation Guitars. They have their fans and also their ‘not-so-much’ fans. But their uniqueness is what – without a doubt – sets them apart from the pack.
With the Celebrity Elite Plus, Ovation has created a solid mid-level model that has the features which have made Ovation a recognized name in the acoustic guitar industry.
First off, the beautifully designed top – it’s simply one of the most interesting sights you’ll see on a guitar. The model I looked at had a quilted maple top finished in a translucent gloss blue. The sound holes are also nontraditional, with several smaller ones located on the upper bout and also on the cutaway horn.
As with all Ovations, the back is made from their Lyrachord synthetic material, which gives a tone that is all Ovation, all the time.
You’ll find a thin neck here as well, measuring 1-11/16” at the nut. It’s also made from nato with a real rosewood fretboard that’s shaped at the far end. This design gives you 24 frets for the higher strings instead of the traditional 20. All in all, it’s a great combination of playing comfort and tone.
Putting the bow on the package is the Ovation OP-4BT preamp with a 3 band EQ, an onboard tuner, and a low battery indicator.
Seagull S6 Original Acoustic
If you’re in the market for an excellent acoustic guitar with a thin neck that doesn’t have a lot of extras, then the Seagull S6 Original may be just the ticket.
The body on the S6 Original deviates a bit from most other models on my list, mostly because it uses pressed cedar for the top instead of spruce. It also has cherry wood as the material for the back and sides.
This gives a warm tonal profile with a defined bottom end that differentiates it from the rest.
The silver leaf maple neck may not be as thin as others on the list (coming in at 1-23/32” for the nut width), but it still is very easy to play with a good amount of comfort.
There aren’t any kind of electronics on the S6 Original. Personally, that’s a feature I would miss dearly since I need to be able to easily amplify my acoustic guitars. To be objective, though, it isn’t a complete deal breaker – that’s especially true if you simply don’t need that kind of flexibility.
Ibanez Talman TCY10 Acoustic-Electric
Not all acoustic guitars have that ‘traditional’ look. The Talman TCY10 from Ibanez takes a different approach to the acoustic guitar, resulting in a model that has more than a hint of ‘electric guitar’ influence.
The double cutaway body design (coupled with the relatively thinner body depth) makes the TCY10 a great choice for guitarists that want to get into playing the acoustic but do not want to give up that electric ‘feel’. Body fit aside, it also has a spruce top with mahogany for the back and sides.
Electric guitar vibe continues with the thin mahogany neck, where you’ll find a nut width of 1-11/16” (on par with most of the thin neck models on my list).
A real rosewood fretboard and attractive white binding also helps to produce great tone while being super easy to play.
It wouldn’t be an ‘electric’ type of acoustic guitar without a pickup in it now, would it? The Talman TCY10 boasts an Ibanez AEQ2T preamp system with an onboard tuner and a 2 band EQ.
What makes the Talman TCY10 even more impressive is the price. For an acoustic guitar in the budget range, I found that it delivers a solid mix of good looks and functionality.
Breedlove Discovery Concert CE
Putting the frosting on the cake with my list of thin neck acoustic guitars is the Breedlove Discovery Concert CE. It is simply a very well made instrument with an impressive look, all while performing strongly in the feature department as well.
First off, the use of mahogany for the top of an acoustic isn’t usually the first choice most guitar manufacturers would make, but with the Discovery Concert CE it works – and works well.
The model I looked at had a beautifully figured solid top with a rich and deep appearance. Layered mahogany was used for the back and sides also.
The neck on the Discovery has the thinner nut width of 1-11/16”, helping to make fretting full barre chords in the lower positions extremely easy. There also is an Indonesian rosewood fretboard loaded with 20 frets.
The Fishman electronics preamp may not be the most feature-laden model they offer, but it’s got the goods. It has single tone and volume controls, along with a tuner and a phase control (to help fight feedback).
Good looks are important, but they really don’t mean much if the guitar underneath it all isn’t all that it should be. That’s certainly not the case with the Breedlove Discovery Concert CE – it has just about everything that a solid and attractive acoustic guitar should have to offer.
What acoustic guitar has the thinnest neck?
If you take a look at the 9 choices on the list, you’ll see that there isn’t just one model that has the thinnest neck over the rest. Many of them (6 out of 9) have a nut width of 1-11/16”, which is very close to 43mm.
As I had mentioned earlier, there are models out there that may go down as far as 41mm, but some of those may be short scale guitars that were particularly designed to be smaller overall. Sticking around the 43mm range seems to be the lower nut width limit for most ‘standard sized’ acoustic guitars.
Can someone with small hands play the guitar?
People with small hands or big hands can play the guitar. Don’t let the size of your hands keep you from trying to learn!
The key is finding the guitar that best fits your body proportions. Kids or adults with smaller hands may do better with short scale guitars that have an overall smaller size. Most adults would typically ‘fit’ a normal sized guitar better.
What is the best guitar for small hands?
Having an acoustic guitar with a thin neck doesn’t automatically mean that it’s easy for someone with small hands to play. The nut width is just one part of the equation.
The overall length of the guitar can make a huge difference as well. That is usually determined by the scale length of the guitar, or the distance from the nut to the bridge. The typical scale length for an acoustic guitar is usually right around 25-½” (you usually don’t see scale length given in millimeters).
A short scale acoustic guitar takes that down to around 24”. An inch and a half may not seem like much, but it actually makes a huge difference. The frets on a short scale guitar are closer together.
I’d say that the best guitar for small hands would be a short scale model that also has a thin neck (around 43mm nut width). But, there are some drawbacks.
More experienced guitar players might point out that there are some differences in tone and volume between standard acoustic guitars and short scale ones. The different scale lengths means it takes different amounts of string tension between the two and short scale guitars usually have a smaller body, which can mean less volume.
A good balance would be something like the Ibanez AEG10II which is not quite a short scale, but just a tiny fraction smaller than the standard neck size (24.9″)
Is a thin neck guitar easier to play?
Well…that completely depends on the player. I think that it’s safe to say that someone with hands the size of a giant may struggle a bit with a thin neck guitar.
Since the strings are closer together because of the thin neck width, it may be tough to squeeze all your fingers to where they need to be. It really could be a problem when it comes to playing chords. The best example of that may be trying to play full barre chords higher up the neck.
Playing single note melodies may not be as big of a deal, but it may be a little bit harder to keep your fingers from hitting other strings when you don’t want to (fingerpicking for example).
If your hands are the size of most people then I would think that it completely comes down to a matter of preference. Some people simply like a thin neck on an acoustic guitar. The same can be said for electric guitars too.
Simply put, an acoustic guitar with a thin neck (that is, the nut width) may be more comfortable to play than one which is wider. It can be a hugely subjective, though. While it may make sense that those with smaller hands can benefit from an acoustic guitar with a thin neck, some may prefer them just because they feel better.
And that’s kind of important, right? Having a guitar that fits like a glove can be just as inspirational as learning some new techniques. A model like the Taylor 114ce not only has a thin neck, but it also has features that make it rise above the rest.
However, the Takamine GD93CE and the Breedlove Discovery Concert CE put up some stiff competition too. I’d recommend trying as many different models as you can. You never know which one may be the one that will feel like it was made just for you.
So what about you? What smaller, thin neck acoustics have you found are worthy of praise? Let me know in the comments below!